Hands-on: Belkin's iPhone mount for desktop Mac displays is a secret tripod mount with MagSafe

Hands-on: Belkin’s iPhone mount for desktop Mac displays is a secret tripod mount with MagSafe

Apple’s Continuity Camera feature on macOS Ventura added the ability to use an iPhone as the Mac’s webcam. Belkin has worked with Apple to create MagSafe mounts that allow you to easily position your iPhone in place for this feature. There are two different mounting styles, and each has its own hidden functionality.

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Belkin first launched the iPhone holder with MagSafe for Mac laptops last fall. A hands-on preview explained how the laptop version included a kickstand/loop to prop up your phone for video or easily grab it with one hand. This makes the $29.95 accessory more functional when you’re not using it as an iPhone stand for video calls on your MacBook.

Then Belkin released its iPhone Holder with MagSafe for Mac Desktops and Displays for $39.95 in December. This version is specifically designed for use with screens that are thicker than laptop lids, including the Apple Studio Display and Apple Pro Display XDR.

The overall quality of the Apple Studio Display webcam was widely criticized in early reviews, prompting Apple to release firmware that attempted to address quality from a software perspective. Not everyone was impressed. The Apple Studio Display webcam and the overall webcam quality of MacBooks over the years meant that macOS Ventura’s Continuity Camera feature received a lot of attention when it was announced.

Notebook version and tips

And in the case of the Apple Pro Display XDR, the high-end monitor doesn’t include a built-in webcam.

In use, I found the laptop version more practical when it comes to using the continuity camera. Mac laptop cameras really aren’t anything out of the ordinary, and iPhone rear cameras are at the top of their class. For more than the occasional video chat, Continuity Camera is actually useful.

Both versions support a Desk View mode that uses the iPhone’s camera when mounted to focus on something you’re presenting in front of you. I haven’t had much luck with this specific feature, but luckily I don’t really need it.

Something I regularly need is an iPhone stand that can be attached to a tripod. Whether I’m capturing photos of birds playing on my back porch or a video of a great view, I regularly turn to such an accessory.

iPhone stands for tripods have always been a bit cumbersome to use. Years ago I used one that required a hex wrench to loosen and tighten. More recently I have used one that is adjustable without the need for another tool. I also thought of the convenience of a MagSafe version for attaching and detaching the iPhone from the mount.

Desktop Version and Tips

Unrelated to that thought, I tried Belkin’s iPhone mount with MagSafe for desktops and Mac displays. It is bulkier than the laptop version as it accommodates different display depths. You won’t find it as a MagSafe Pop-Socket alternative like the slimmer version.

Instead, Belkin leverages the sturdier design to allow it to double as an iPhone stand for tripods. This is where I personally find my most frequent use. I ditched my old iPhone mount and replaced it with Belkin’s MagSafe mount. Now setup, adjustments, and teardown are much easier than with tripod mounts that require turning screws to get the correct fit.

So while I see the biggest benefit of using Continuity Camera with laptops, I use the desktop version most often. It turns out to be a great little MagSafe tripod mount that enables Continuity Camera on Mac desktop displays.

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